MacBook Pro and the Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200RPM Drive

Posted by on Jun 7, 2009 in Mac Specific, Reviews, Technology | 58 Comments

I went ahead and picked up the granddaddy of all laptop hard drives for my MacBook Pro – the Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200RPM with SATA 3.0 (model ST9500420AS). I upgraded from a Hitachi 320GB 7200RPM drive and boy, what a wonderful difference!

Using Carbon Copy Cloner, it took roughly 3 1/2 hours to clone the contents of my 320GB drive to the 500GB. 120GB of photos was the #1 slow down, and #2 was the 320GB drive dragging its proverbial feet. Once the cloning was done, replacing the 320 with the 500 took about 2 minutes – 5 little screws (1 brace and 4 stabilizers on the drive).

The first thing I noticed was that the 500GB Seagate drive boots about 40% faster than the 320GB Hitachi. Apps open up a little faster – not 40% faster, but certainly 20% or so.

Once I’d booted up, I ran several tests and scans on the drive to make sure the drive was going to be stable and error free. Nothing sucks quite so much as banking on a new hard drive, only to have it melt down. Tests showed no drive flaws.

I then ran an XBench test to compare the two drives. The 500GB drive scored well over twice as fast as the 320GB with sequential and random reads/writes. For the non-techies, this simply means that this new Seagate drive whips the snot out of the Hitachi drive.


(XBench is a free utility that every Mac user should have, even if it’s rarely used.)

On the down side, the Seagate drive is just as loud as the 320GB Hitachi. That was a little disappointment to me. That said, the drive isn’t “noisy” per se, it’s just that the spinning is clearly audible in a near silent room or if one listens within 6 or 7 inches of the laptop body. No huge deal.

Other positives? XP boots and runs faster in Parallels. So does Windows 7. So does Linux. Photoshop CS4 opens up 25% faster and runs actions in an instant. File transfers to other 7200RPM drives are way faster. In short, pretty much everything is better and faster.

The best part of all? After Leopard, tons of apps, tens of thousands of photos, etc. I’ve got about 300GB free. Awesome!!

If you’re considering buying the Seagate 500GB drive, I hope these comments help. And hopefully you wind up with a good stable drive that passes any tests you subject it to.

58 Comments

  1. Mike
    June 8, 2009

    Hey, nice post, really well written. You should post more about this.

  2. Joe
    June 17, 2009

    Hey, I bought the same drive and it took my new MacBook Pro 17″ maximum battery life from about 7hrs 40 min to 4hrs 40 min…. did you have the same problem…?

  3. Muzammil
    June 20, 2009

    hey im just curious. I recently aquired a white core duo 2.0ghz macbook and was wondering about heat issues. how does your macbook react. does it put out alot of heat. since i would assume you have it running since june 7. just wondering please let me know.

  4. JasonTomczak
    June 21, 2009

    Hi Muzammil – I’ve experienced no heat issues with this new 7200RPM drive. Temperatures are staying in very normal ranges (95°F), which is cooler than I would expect. I hope that helps.

  5. JasonTomczak
    June 21, 2009

    Hi Joe – sorry for the long delay in response. I have noticed a very slight decrease in battery time with the new 7200RPM drive. By very slight, I mean no more than 10-15% depending on how active the drive is. Your drop is closer to 40%, which is really odd. I’d be a little concerned, too.

    On my 15″ MBP, I keep the power settings as benevolent to the battery as possible. I keep my screen brightness one notch below max (makes a big difference), and I have the hard drive sleep whenever not in use. I also found that I was making no use of the suped-up video card, so I switched it to the low-power 256MB side. Still works wonders, still lights up my 24″ Samsung LCD screen, etc.

    That said, I will be switching to a 17″ MBP in the next couple days, so I’ll have a much better frame of reference for battery time. I’ll post results asap for direct Apples-to-Apples comparison (ba-dah!).

  6. Trevor
    June 28, 2009

    Hi Joe and Jason. I just put in the Segate 500 7200 RPM on my new Macbook Pro 2.53. It’s fast alright, but I’m looking at 3.5 hours of battery life now, down from a supposed 7 hours. I love the room and speed, but it’s just not worth losing all that battery. Do you think it could be a problem with my battery? I usually use quite a few apps at a time, but also put hard drive to sleep when possible and don’t max out brightness. Any ideas?

  7. JasonTomczak
    June 28, 2009

    Trevor and Joe,

    I’m in the midst of a battery test right now to determine how my 17″ MacBook Pro handles the 7200RPM drive. So far I’m 2h 31m into the test, and my MBP is reporting that remaining battery time is 3h 52m. That equates to a rough battery life of 6h 23m, about 30 mins shy of Apple’s 7 hour estimate. That estimate changes periodically when I open or close apps, and the differences vary depending on which apps I run, so it’s pretty fluid. Granted, I’m being pretty gentle on resources – nothing like Photoshop, iDVD or the like. That and I have my screen brightness dropped to the 3rd notch under the brightest setting.

    It’s important to remember that Apple’s quote of “up to 7 hours” of battery life is not a guaranteed achievement but a best case scenario when conditions are right, under the standard configuration. Essentially, the 7 hour mark is a holy grail that can be reached, but typically if the moon & stars align and the gods deem it appropriate. Using a 7200RPM drive will certainly drop expectations a bit, but it should not wipe out 40% or more of the MBP’s battery life as some people are reporting. If battery time is reduced by that much, I would definitely look into the situation – battery refresh, possible replacement, etc.

    Another thing I’ve noticed – the more RAM is installed, the less OS X has to utilize the hard drive. Battery life increases dramatically from 2GB to 4GB. I look forward to dropping 8GB into my MBP to see how battery life is improved. If anyone has already done so, I sure would like to know the results.

  8. JasonTomczak
    June 29, 2009

    The final result for my 17″ MacBook Pro + 7200RPM 500GB drive battery test was 6 hours 11 minutes.

    In comparison to my own tests, here’s a great link showing “real world” battery life stats for the 17″ MacBook Pro.

    Light Use + Better Battery Life = 6h 53m
    Light Use + Higher Performance = 6h 04m

    Moderate Use + Better Battery Life = 4h 40m
    Moderate Use + Higher Performance = 3h 50m
    (a la Joe and Trevor)

    (Better Battery Life & Higher Performance are options in the “Energy Saver” panel)

  9. Bob Russo
    June 30, 2009

    I have a MacBook Pro 15″ 2.2GH with a 120 5400 rpm SATA. Do you know if this 500GB will work for me. Great Page, Thanks.
    Bob

  10. JasonTomczak
    June 30, 2009

    Hi Bob,

    Absolutely. The 500GB drive would be awesome in your MacBook Pro. The only trouble is that your particular model is a little more difficult to open and access the hard drive. That said, the last time I did so, it took me less than 8 minutes to pull the old drive, put in the new drive and get the case put back together.

    If you go to ifixit.com, you’ll find a great pictorial guide to swapping your hard drive.

    Good luck with the swap!

    Jason

    P.S. As long as you’re planning to upgrade the hard drive, also check newegg.com for RAM prices. You should be able to max out your system RAM for under $50.

  11. Kristopher Johnson
    August 13, 2009

    Just did this upgrade myself, to my 15-inch unibody MacBook Pro.

    It’s working well, and everything does feel snappier. The only downside is that I feel some vibration that wasn’t present before with the stock 320 GB drive. No big deal; just not perfect.

  12. Kristopher Johnson
    August 13, 2009

    BTW, if you are doing the upgrade yourself, you’ll need a #00 Phillips screwdriver and a Torx T6 screwdriver.

  13. JasonTomczak
    August 13, 2009

    Kristopher, yes there is definitely a little extra vibe in the 500GB drive. I noticed the exact same thing when I had the 500GB in my MacBook Pro. There’s nothing wrong with the drive when it makes that hum, but it is something to get used to. Look on the bright side – you’ve got some barely audible white noise, and the 500GB size is pretty awesome. =)

    The only drive I’ve found that permanently and fully silences a laptop is an SSD.

    Good note about the Phillips and Torx screwdrivers. Inexpensive sets can be found at Home Depot, Lowes, Fry’s, etc.

  14. don
    August 27, 2009

    Just wondering if anyone has already dropped 8 gig of Memory into a MBP with the 500 GB 7200 HD…?
    Any difference to the battery life…?

  15. Wills
    August 28, 2009

    What do you think about Western Digital WD3200BEKT 320GB 2.5″ Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache – OEM Scorpio Black on MBP 15″

  16. Lenny
    August 30, 2009

    How About this in an Old Macbook white (Mid 2007)

    Im about to choose between this device and WD blue 500gb 5400rpm….

    Batterylife and heat is an important factor during the use in daily class.

  17. JasonTomczak
    August 30, 2009

    Hi Don,

    Any increase in RAM is going to have a positive effect on battery life. The most startling improvements are noticed when increasing from 1GB to 2GB RAM. OS X (or any OS for that matter) uses the hard drive less for paging, and thereby reduces spin cycles. Increasing from 2GB to 4GB also has a very positive effect on battery life, but perhaps not so dramatically. And while I’m sure the same function applies to 8GB of RAM (the entirety of Snow Leopard takes up less space than that), sadly I don’t know anyone lucky enough to have 8GB in a MacBook Pro.

    In my own experience, running 4GB RAM has helped immensely, and adding a Corsair SSD made things even better. =)

    Jason

  18. JasonTomczak
    August 30, 2009

    Hey Willis,

    I used a drive like the WD 320GB before and I loved it. It was quiet and very fast. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136280&Tpk=WD3200BEKT $79 is a pretty decent price, too. That said, you could spend another $15 and get the 500GB model.

    Jason

  19. JasonTomczak
    August 30, 2009

    Hi Lenny,

    If you’re referring to this drive (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136314), then I can tell you it is a great deal. I used that drive in a unibody MacBook. That drive gave me decent battery life and almost no issue with heat.

    One thing to consider is the health of your laptop battery. The more your battery is used, the more it wears out. What may have given you 5 hours of charge when brand new could give only 3 hours after 12-18 months of use/abuse.

    One of my favorite little widgety apps is Coconut Battery (http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/). It gives you lots of helpful info about your battery, how much power it’s actually putting out (original vs. current mAh), how many full cycles it’s been used, etc.

    I hope that helps.

  20. Lenny
    September 3, 2009

    Thanks for the answer Jason!

    I did order the Seagate HDD this evening for about 138USD(1044SEK) here in Sweden. Yes, it´s very expensive with storage here just because of taxes… But import isn´t any alternative for me when it´s about mechanic hardware.
    I´ve used the software alot before and I´m taking very good care of my battery, so now after 25months and 518 Battery-Load cycles it still has 4772mAh of the 5020mAh that it was delivered with =D.
    So I hope that my old Macbook will just accept the new Drive and live for at least my last year at the university as a student :)

    PS. just an example. My cousin left his “Same-Old” Macbook for 2 weeks and the battery is totally stoneDEAD, so Taking care of the battery is very important!

    Greets
    Lenny

  21. D
    September 4, 2009

    I was wondering how much it cost you guys for the 500GB drive? Any cheaper then having apple put it in for you?

  22. JasonTomczak
    September 4, 2009

    When I got mine, I paid roughly $130. It looks like the current price is $119, however I noticed on newegg.com that this hard drive has been getting a number of bad reviews. It could be that the newest iteration of this drive is experiencing problems that the previous model did not. Mine is still working beautifully. So, caveat emptor and all that good stuff.

  23. Greg Iafeliece
    October 1, 2009

    I installed the same drive in my 13″ MB Pro and I noticed my battery draining quicker. After searching a bit I found that the SATA interface on the MB pro is 1.5Gbits/sec and the drive is 3Gbits per second, so a jumper may need to be placed on the drive to force it into 1.5 mode to stop it from spinning and save batter life. I am going to give it a try to see if it changes anything. I can feel the drive humming through the keyboard now so hopefully the jumper will work. I have my energy settings to put the drive to sleep when no in use and there has been no change.

  24. Greg Iafeliece
    October 1, 2009

    Ok I put the jumper in and the computer would not boot from the drive so I removed the jumper and everything is working. After speaking with a tech at the mac store I was told the drive is set for ‘performance and quick access’ from the manufacturer so I guess I have to live with a shorter battery life..

  25. bart
    October 4, 2009

    Just installed Seagate Momentus 500 GB 7200.4 in 15″ 2006 MacBook Pro. Was 80 GB Seagate OEM… we’ll see.. heat issues anyone… Working wonderfully for two days now.. but feels a bit “hot” in the power input (upper left corner near escape key)…. will keep you posted.. please advise on heat issues anyone….???

  26. Marwan Salfiti
    October 5, 2009

    hey Jason,

    great info here. You suggested to Willis that he shell out an extra 15 bux for the WD 500gb drive, but that one still runs at 5400rpm… Isn’t the real thing that you want to do is pick up the speed with the 7200 rpm drive? I am leaning towards the WD 320gb/7200rpm for my MacBook Pro mainly because of reviews on new egg… The seagate seems to be getting a lot of bad reviews as of late with drives doa or failing. Any update on your opinion of this drive?

    thanks for the help

  27. kirt
    October 8, 2009

    I was wondering if it would work out putting a Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200rpm into a 2007 Macbook (2.o/2×512/80/Combo) that has a 5400rpm 80GB Sata hard drive. And I’m also replacing the screen. So I’ve got my hands full, and it’s the first time ever working on a Mac. So can I do that up grade with the hard drive ? And does anyone have any suggestions for a good site to follow a step by step guide ? I’m doing this now so a quick answer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Kirt M.

  28. JasonTomczak
    October 8, 2009

    Hi Kirt,

    Almost any 5400 or 7200 RPM laptop hard drive should fit in your MacBook, so long as it’s SATA and not olde schoole ATA. Here’s a how-to from ifixit.com.

    As for the LCD replacement (yes, you sure have some work cut out for yourself), check this how-to from ifixit.com should give you the basic steps, complete with photos. If that’s not the exact model MacBook, you can search that same site for a closer match.

    Good luck!

  29. Malcolm A. MacIver
    October 26, 2009

    Hi there,

    This is for Greg in case he’s still tuned in. I have a weird problem where my 13 Macbook Pro is not going to sleep when I run the battery down – it shuts off completely. I’ve gone through one logic board and battery via Apple repair, and the issue remains. So, now I’m thinking that Greg’s comment about slightly higher power drain may be the culprit. Unfortunately I gave up the original drive so it’s not handy to check out. But if anyone else is noticing this it would be helpful to hear.

  30. Greg Iafeliece
    January 30, 2010

    Malcolm,

    Sorry, not checked back in a bit. Mine will go to sleep and give the warnings about low battery. I still have the original drive, use it for time machine. There is no way I get anywhere close to 7 or 6 hours of use on my machine. I have not done a stand-bye battery test with it unplugged and maybe email open. Maybe later…

    Greg

  31. Jaime
    February 9, 2010

    There seem to be a lot of reliability problems reported with this drive:

    http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Momentus-ST9500420AS-Bare-Frustration-Free-Packaging/dp/B001R4BBLU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1265710557&sr=8-1

    Anybody here seen any problems?

  32. Mike
    March 5, 2010

    This is for Bart, relative to the potential heat problem. I’m interested in knowing if that is resolved; I have a 2006 Macbook Pro, 15.4″, and had heat problems until I installed smcFanControl, a freeware program that has worked flawlessly for me since I installed it. However, I’m getting ready to install the Seagate Momentus 500gb 7200 in my machine, and wondered if you were having heat problems in spite of having a fan control program installed.

  33. deejay nme
    March 13, 2010

    i’ve been looking thru all these comments and i have some to reply to….
    as far as battery life, yes it decreases the battery like and cuts that 7-6 hours down to about 5-4 hours. (its sad i know) but its the truth. i installed this drive a few months ago on my MBP 15″ 2009 model and i absolutely love it, i’m a power whore house and a DJ. i have a ridiculous amount of music, videos etc… i use this for active work in clubs and it throws down perfectly. i do experience heat issues but who doesnt? i feel like the ventilation for the MBP is not sufficient for the space under the screen and especially if its on your lap or if u have it on a pillow it gets hot because the vents get blocked. thats the only time i’ve had heat issues.
    i have little to none for vibration issues…seagate is pretty good so far and hopefully it wont fail. i had a WD scorpio blue 500gb @ 5400 and it kept on freezing my comp.

  34. Pac
    May 8, 2010

    Dont use it , it got a lot of problem with my macbook pro….hang -> format -> hang -> format……….* 20 …i gotta get a new hard disk for my mac

  35. Michael Manley
    May 14, 2010

    I tried the 7200rpm, 500GB Seagate drive. AFter a dozen or so attempts to set it up, I’m pulling it tonight. The drive made my system unstable. Repeated attempts to load the OS from disc and go through the updates failed. Upgrading to Os X 10.6 wouldn’t work because the system kept hanging up part way through the upgrade. I’m not sure why this drive has performed so badly in my 15″ early ’09 MBP, but it has caused me endless headaches and I’m done with it. I ran a TechTool test on the drive itself, during one of the brief periods when I could maintain a working OS on the system, and it showed no bad sectors or other anomallies, but the system evidently doesn’t like this drive. It crashes the OS and requires freequent cold reboots — a bad situation when you’re in the middle of an OS installation or upgrade.

  36. Michael Manley
    May 14, 2010

    Oops! Early ’08 MBP — I bought it in early ’09, but it’s actually the early ’08 model w/250GB HDD and 2.5GHz processor. In any case, the Seagate Momentus was a problematic upgrade. I may put it in my Dell laptop where I expect it will work as advertised.

  37. Roberto Winter
    June 8, 2010

    Hi there,
    can anyone give me a followup on how these drives are holding up? I’ve read about people complaining about them failing after about 6 months to one year. Are those cases exceptions? Jason, how is yours (or have you stopped using it after the Corsair SSD)?

    Oh, and apparently there are two versions of this HD one is ST9500420AS and the other ST9500420ASG (notice the last character there, the “G”). So let’s make it clear that we’re talking about the *non* shock protected version (which is know to freak out when in MacBooks and so on).
    Thanks.

  38. Robert
    June 9, 2010

    Hi,
    I put in 6 gb samsung ram kit from other world and a seagate momentus 500 gb 7200 rpm hd into a june 2007 2.4 macbook pro 15″ and my logic board blew out …(heat seems to be an issue, that sucker got hot) …luckily I still had 2 weeks left on apple care …Still doesn’t know if the HD is dammaged …
    Any ideas ?!

  39. ANTHONY
    June 12, 2010

    I am interested and need one someone contact me I am a video editing student at the Art Institute and I really really need something so I could work from home can anyone please help me out?

  40. ANTHONY
    June 12, 2010

    PLEASE!!!!! THANK YOU

  41. Ivan
    July 8, 2010

    This is for Greg,
    I’m having similar problems with an Hitachi 7K500 drive to replace the stock Hitachi 5K250 of my brand new MBP 13″ 2010. Battery life dropped from 10+ hours to 5+… awful. The original drive is firmware locked to 1.5 Mbps and this may be the difference as you suggest. Now the information to you… with Hitachi there was a DOS application (so you’d need a PC) to change the settings (1.5 to 3 Gbps among them), so I’ll give it a try tonight. Maybe you should check your manufacturer’s website for an application like that.

    Ivan.

  42. Alex
    July 12, 2010

    I’ve got a 2.33 Ghz MacBook Pro (’06/’07) and I’m looking to upgrade the Hard Drive.

    Right now I’m torn between the 320 GB WD Scorpio Black (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=477) and the 320 GB Seagate Momentus XT (http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/laptop-hdd).

    Both are 320GB 7200 RPM drives, and the only discernible difference between the two is the Seagate’s 4GB SSD, which makes it a hybrid drive. I’m leaning towards purchasing the Seagate, but I’m afraid of some of the newegg reviews that suggest it may cause the laptop to vibrate or make tons of noise. It would appear that the WD doesn’t suffer from the same problems, but I’ve had some mediocre WD hard drives in the past and don’t want to get burned again. I would appreciate hearing about anyone’s experiences with either of these drives in their MacBooks/MacBook Pros.

    Thanks!

    Alex

  43. Linh
    September 25, 2010

    Hi
    I replaced the original drive that came with my 13″ macbook pro 2.66 (bought in 8/10) with this drive. I feel a slight vibration when I put my hands next to the hand rest (both sides of the track pad). It’s not loud or anything, but most of the time I can feel the light vibration. Is it normal and expected? Hope someone sees this post. Much appreciated!

  44. Jason
    September 26, 2010

    Hi Linh,

    Some vibration is to be expected. If the laptop is really shaking or the hard drive is noisy or clicking, then I’d be concerned. But just feeling a little hum is perfectly ok.

    Jason

  45. Woody ONeal
    January 23, 2011

    Last week, I installed the Momentus XT in my mid-2007 MBP. I did a clone via Super Duper…booted up clean, and fast. Love this drive.

    A bit noisier but not too big an issue.

    What IS an issue is that it will not let the MBP “put the hard disk to sleep when possible”. Only by prompting the MBP to sleep, via mouse and click, will it EVER sleep. Even a lid closure will not sleep the drive.

    I have the Power Saver settings configured correctly.

    Does anyone know if resettint the PRAM will help this issue?

    Thanks a ton.

  46. Woody ONeal
    January 23, 2011

    Follow up to my last post.

    I did install firmware SD 24 without a problem either…I read elsewhere that SD23 intentionally was designed/release to NOT let the drive sleep because of complaints that SD22 wound not let the drive wake up!

    Clearly, Segate has some bugs to work out with the drives compatibility with SATA controllers/OS X software.

  47. Nathaniel
    May 18, 2011

    This article was exactly what I was looking for. Quick question though. How would this drive deal with partitions? I have a 15″ aluminum 2.2 and I’m going to replace the hard drive with the momentus 500. I’m planning to partition about 120GB for OS and stuff and the rest for audio recording and samples. Because the drive is “hybrid” would this effect any part of my plans???

  48. JasonTomczak
    May 19, 2011

    Nathaniel – the Momentus 500 I was writing about is not the new hybrid. That said, you should be able to partition the hybrid drive just the same as any other HDD. The 4GB SSD component isn’t actually on the 500GB drive platters, so it’ll serve 2 partitions (or 10) the same way it would serve 1 partition. From what I’ve read, it’s a fast drive and should be pretty nice to use. Good luck!

  49. Siju
    June 16, 2011

    Dear,
    I would like to purchase one macbook pro 13″.
    after going through this discussion what i understood it is better to go for 5400 rpm hard disc…
    but what is your opinion about SATA and ATA,
    which is the best drive suitable for macbook pro 13″
    and more over is it worthy to have 8 gb RAM in that,
    or better to go with 4gb RAM…?

    looking forward for your reply, ….

    thank you

  50. Alain
    September 7, 2011

    Hello,
    I upgraded with this Momentus XT / 500GB on my 2010 15″MBP, it was alright to start with, Battery life decreased a bit, but not that much.
    But after 1 month of use (rather intensive Music Making), it started to crash very often… I mean, every day, several times a day…
    Did experience this kind of problem on the long run?

  51. Anton
    September 21, 2011

    Any problems with MBP and the drive? I currently have 250SSD + 250HD 5400 rpm both of which are full, so need more capacity for media storage but doubt 500GB is enough I’d rather go for 750GB. But there’s no hybrid 7500. So I wonder how big is the performance gain if it’s used for fast random access to media files? The only performance I need from it is a fast read of photo RAW files of 100GB+ library.

    BTW check how I upgraded to MBP to 2 drives: http://www.bielousov.com/2011/owc-data-doubler/

  52. Anton
    September 21, 2011

    Hell knows. 4GB SSD prefetching in Hybrid sounds sweet for working with recent photo session. But damn, size and reliability are on other hand.

  53. JasonTomczak
    September 22, 2011

    Hi Anton – I just got the Momentus XT 500GB hybrid drive for my wife’s quad-core i7 MacBook Pro. It’s pretty good – faster boot and some apps open & respond a little faster, but it’s nothing like a Solid State Drive. The 4GB SSD portion of the Momentus XT drive does well, and may perform well as a secondary drive, but I really think you’d be better off with a 750GB or 1TB drive as your storage space. I doubt you’d notice 1/10 of a second difference in opening a photo into Photoshop. Best to have an extra 250GB or 500GB of drive space.

  54. JasonTomczak
    September 22, 2011

    Anton – nice MBP/DataDoubler surgery page. Шок! Оно запускается! =) Your 250GB SSD is primary, so 90% of the speed you need is right there. Your secondary drive should absolutely be a minimum of 7200RPM. For a while, I used another SSD as my secondary drive and the speeds were fantastic.

    ** As a side note, I would recommend you open your MBP again and clean out the main fan. It looks very dirty. It’s a common issue, but that dirt/dust can cause your fan to become less effective and that will lead to a hotter, slower machine with a shorter lifespan. Get some compressed air and a soft, dry toothbrush (or Q-Tip) and gently clean the fan. Blow compressed air into the entire length of the cooling vents on the back side of the laptop (under the screen) and anywhere else you see dust accumulating. That should help keep your laptop happy. =)

  55. marshy
    October 26, 2011

    attempted a seagate momentus 7200 750 GB install to a late 2009 white mb. total fail – it would copy and install via usb but failed to boot or properly communicate inside the machine. : (

    hope to share the wisdom to avoid the pain!

  56. Anton
    November 18, 2011

    True, JasonTomczak so I did update that secondary 250@5400 to 750@7200 last month because of a) additional 250GB and b) could not find if they’ve sold standby mode issues in MacBooks.

    And well I can’t say I noticed any performance growth in anything.
    I remember how much fun I had playing with my MBP just after moving to SSD but nothing even close that exciting after installing 750@7200. Just more space. That’s it. period.

  57. Anton
    November 18, 2011

    *** Thanks, I know about the dirt on fan and when I was installing 750GB I cleaned it %) You see, this thing is 2 years old now and when my friend opened it to install SSD in Data Doubler by the time I grabbed some cleaning kit, he has already closed it %) Next time I did that myself and cleaned the dirt.

    BTW, also got 2x4GB RAM in the same order with HDD which costed only $50 and have this machine really strong now and fun to work on: SSD, 8GB RAM, 1TB total capacity. Finally CPU became a bottleneck :-D

  58. Diana
    December 14, 2011

    Funny, I was about to buy myself one, and then I saw my Unibody Macbook Pro (late 2008) came with one. (Back then I opted for the “faster” Drive. However, the largest one back in the day was 320 GB. So this means, I already got the fast stuff inside, so I would not notice any difference. Gotta wait for the next generation until next summer with no upgrade. :(

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